Stable and dynamic cortical electrophysiology of induction and emergence with propofol anesthesia

Jonathan D. Breshears, Jarod L. Roland, Mohit Sharma, Charles M. Gaona, Zachary V. Freudenburg, Rene Tempelhoff, Michael S. Avidan, Eric C. Leuthardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


The mechanism(s) by which anesthetics reversibly suppress consciousness are incompletely understood. Previous functional imaging studies demonstrated dynamic changes in thalamic and cortical metabolic activity, as well as the maintained presence of metabolically defined functional networks despite the loss of consciousness. However, the invasive electrophysiology associated with these observations has yet to be studied. By recording electrical activity directly from the cortical surface, electrocorticography (ECoG) provides a powerful method to integrate spatial, temporal, and spectral features of cortical electrophysiology not possible with noninvasive approaches. In this study, we report a unique comprehensive recording of invasive human cortical physiology during both induction and emergence from propofol anesthesia. Propofolinduced transitions in and out of consciousness (defined here as responsiveness) were characterized by maintained large-scale functional networks defined by correlated fluctuations of the slow cortical potential (<0.5 Hz) over the somatomotor cortex, present even in the deeply anesthetized state of burst suppression. Similarly, phase-power coupling between θ- andγ-range frequencies persisted throughout the induction and emergence from anesthesia. Superimposed on this preserved functional architecture were alterations in frequency band power, variance, covariance, and phase-power interactions that were distinct to different frequency ranges and occurred in separable phases. These data support that dynamic alterations in cortical and thalamocortical circuit activity occur in the context of a larger stable architecture that is maintained despite anesthetic-induced alterations in consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21170-21175
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 7 2010


  • Cortical networks
  • Gamma rhythms
  • Human cortex


Dive into the research topics of 'Stable and dynamic cortical electrophysiology of induction and emergence with propofol anesthesia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this